Christie Puckett teaches grades 3-6 science in Maysville, a decidedly agricultural community. Her own ag background comes from her dad, a grocer and self-taught butcher.
"This was back before the US Food and Drug Administration had to inspect all the beef," she recalls. "He processed meat for the local beef and pork producers," she said. "He would work all day in the grocery store and then process meat in the evenings. People say no one could cut meat like my daddy could,” she said. "People in the town were upset when he retired."
Puckett has taught in Maysville for the past 33 years. She grew up and attended school in Maysville. In the past she taught kindergarten, first grade, third grade and junior high - all in Maysville. She also taught performance arts until budget cuts eliminated that program. A few years ago the district departmentalized the elementary school, so now Christie teaches science only, although she admits to crossing the line into other subjects on occasion.
Even though Mayesville is an ag community and many of her students are from farm families, "I still have students who say their food comes from Walmart," she said.
In addition to her teaching duties, Puckett works with youth as senior 4-H leader. She organized a very successful Ag Day last year and used her 4-H kids to teach lessons to her younger students.
Puckett can’t remember when she was first introduced to OAITC but thinks it was probably through 4-H, at a workshop in the county Extension office in Pauls Valley.
"I remember they showed us how to make a hamburger out of felt, and we made Clucking Chickens," she recalls.
"I use Ag in the Classroom lessons and resources all the time," she said. "My administration is very supportive."
Like other teachers she is required to use science texts supplied by the district, but she finds that OAITC resources provide a useful supplement. As an example, she used the OAITC lesson "A Beautiful Captive" to supplement a recent lesson on the life cycle of a butterfly,.
Puckett has attended four of the OAITC summer tours, has had winners in state Ag Day contests, has attended other OAITC training offered through the Oklahoma State Department of Education, has received OAITC/Oklahoma Pork Council grants and has attended teacher brainstorming sessions at the Noble Foundation in Ardmore.
She searches the OAITC website to find suitable science lessons. One year she taught science enrichment and that was total OAITC, she said.
Her favorite OAITC lesson is "Little Red Hen," for sentimental reasons. "My mother read that story to us and drilled the lessons into us," she recalls. When her mother was alive she would visit Puckett's classroom and read the story to the students. "She would bring hot rolls for the students to eat while she read the story," Puckett said.
Puckett's students like the lesson "Hit the Trail" and "Scatter Square Dancing," which they performed for other students in the school.
"It is important for students to know that as soon as they wake up every morning, agriculture touches their lives," Puckett said.
Puckett uses OAITC resources to supplement lessons from the required textbook. Most recently she used "A Lovely Captive" to supplement a lesson on the life cycle of a butterfly.
How to Have an Ag Day (video)